| The Greatest Deliberative Body on Earth is what DC insiders like to call the United States Senate.
That's become a lie lately, as now it's the place where good bills go to die at the hands of record-breaking Republican Filibusters:
The filibuster has been used nearly 400 times in the 112th Congress, which will go down as the least productive since the 1940s. The classic filibuster -- made famous in the film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" starring Jimmy Stewart -- involves a lawmaker taking to the floor and doggedly making his point.
In the modern Senate, the invoking of cloture to stop such debating requires 60 votes. But it's been decades since the objecting senator has had to take floor.
Republicans have abused the process and turned the Senate into an anti-Democratic, and anti-democratic, dead zone for President Obama's legislative initiatives and personnel choices. Senate Republicans have been thwarting the Will of the People for years now with the sole intent of making the president a failure, and with the effect of slowing our economic recovery, hampering the ability of government to function properly, and pampering the rich while punishing the Middle Class.
So some bold and progressive senators now see the only option is to remove these archaic rules that allow one senator, usually a Republican, to halt all business in the senate with merely a stern look.
In a perfect display of the stupidity of the current rule, Republican Mitch McConnell recently filibustered his own bill!
A gang of old guard senators is looking to head off true filibuster reform that was initiated by Tom Udall and Jeff Merkeley with a bipartisan plan that will allow Republicans to continue with business as usual:
The proposal would block filibusters on starting debates, on going to conference with the House, and on some presidential nominations.
(This is how Susan Rice got removed from consideration for Secretary of State by Grumpy John McCain and Lindsey Graham. - z)
Two new methods would be allowed for the majority leader to stop filibusters of motions to begin debate of regular bills. One would let the leader call a vote on proceeding, with just four amendments allowed. The other involves the minority and majority leaders signing a motion to proceed with five other senators.
It's a B.S. response by this bipartisan group that want to maintain the old, dysfunctional rules in the senate. Ezra Klein states plainly:
This is filibuster reform for people who don't want to reform the filibuster.
Republicans should not be trusted one bit on this issue.
And just because it's "bipartisan" doesn't make it good. Other policies that have bipartisan support are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention of American citizens, drone attacks on innocent civilians an children, and allowing thieving, felon bank CEO's to go scot-free to commit further financial crimes at our nation's expense.
This phony ploy by John McCain and some weak-kneed Democrats should be rejected and Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress explains why.
Americans want the filibuster fixed, not rigged. I suggest you call your senators again to remind them, cuz I have the feeling they've forgotten how you feel:
Fix the Filibuster on January 3